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1996 Henschke Hill of Grace
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- Cellar 10 - 15 years (2011-2016)
- Closure: Cork
Hill of Grace is a unique delineated single historic vineyard. The famous century-old Hill of Grace vines were planted around the 1860s by an ancestor, Nicolaus Stanitzki, in rich alluvial soil in a shallow fertile valley just north-west of the winery. The vineyard lies opposite a beautiful old Lutheran Church, built of local field stone, which was euphoniously named Gnadenberg, meaning 'Hill of Grace'.
1996 was an outstanding vintage with average winter rainfall (after two drought years), a mild spring with excellent flowering conditions and a dry, cool summer. The cool conditions allowed for a long slow ripening with excellent flavour development.
This is probably the best Hill of Grace produced to date – Exceptional and getting better! Opaque crimson mauve colour. The nose displays aromas of dusty mint, spice and a touch of leather. The palate is filled with superb ripe fruit. Raspberries, blueberries, vanilla, confectionary and spice fill every corner of the mouth and are amplified by fine, dry tannins, followed by a very long lingering, blackberry, liquorice, spice aftertaste. Cellar 10-15 years.
Sits on the right hand of Grange, equally deified, and now challenging its (Grange's) price; for a vintage such as 1996 no one is likely to complain. Deep red-purple; the bouquet is exceptionally rich and ripe (for the often reserved style) with lusciously sweet blackcurrant, blackberry and mint fruit cascading through to the palate. Drink by 2026.
James Halliday - Australian Wine Companion